September is Suicide Awareness Month. Suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students. Within these uncertain times caused by the pandemic and the stress of starting a new semester, it is important for students to be aware of the current state of one's mental health. Suicide Awareness Month also serves as a great reminder to check up on friends and colleagues often, to make sure they are doing OK. Ohio University provides multiple resources to aid in improving mental health. Here are five resources OU students can access and use for free:
OHIO Counseling and Psychological Services
Counseling and Psychological Services, or (CPS), offers mental health services, including individual counseling, group counseling, and psychiatry. Although students would traditionally meet with a counselor in person, CPS is offering counseling through telehealth, which allows students to use CPS remotely. With telehealth, students can meet with counselors via face-to-face video chat or over the phone. Anyone currently enrolled as an OU student, including those who have never used CPS before, can access CPS and telehealth services for free.
Survivor Advocacy Program
Ohio University’s Survivor Advocacy Program, or (SAP), provides confidential support for survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence and stalking. SAP allows survivors to meet and speak with an advocate. SAP is currently working remotely. Survivors can meet with an advocate through a phone call or video chat. SAP is also hosting workshops for survivors virtually.
Exercise is a great way for students to improve their mental health and well being. Ping Recreation Center is still offering group fitness classes this semester. Whether students are at home or on campus, they can take a number of classes offered ranging from yoga to high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, and more. Classes are being offered through YouTube live streams and limited in-person outdoors. Group fitness classes are open to all OU students.
Bobcats Who Care
Bobcats Who Care is a great resource for students, faculty and staff looking to learn more about suicide. It includes information concerning basic statistics, definitions, warning signs, risk factors and appropriate referral resources. This training program teaches attendees how to recognize and support someone who is feeling depressed through individual knowledge, self-awareness and communication skills. Those interested in receiving training can request a training session on its website.
WellTrack is an app that students can use to monitor their own mental health. The app allows students to confidentially log their moods, improve depressive thoughts and behaviors and learn more about managing anxiety and stress. OU students have full access to WellTrack when they register with their official OU email address.
For any help, you can always reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Text “START” to Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or, in Ohio, text “4HOPE”. If you do not like phone calls, consider using the Lifeline Crisis Chat at www.crisischat.org.